Research issue and purposes
The researcher has clearly outlined the essence of the referenced study as aimed at reviewing the epidemiology of breast cancer in young women. He has limited the ‘young’ to involve women who are below the age of 40 years. He intends to explore the incidence, mortality and survival rates of these women, the pathological characteristics that they portray and finally analyze the specific risk factors that these women have. However, he has not given a clear defined research question which he intends to answer using the results of the research. Instead, he has simply taken a general overview of the epidemiology of breast cancer in young women. It is my opinion that the researcher’s restrictive focus on the particular age group is ideal. However, his lack of a specific research question regarding the epidemiology of breast cancer has limited his specificity to some extent.
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The researcher seems to have an in depth understanding as to the topic of discussion. His take on the specific pathology is quite informed based on the way he defends his specificity on the particular research topic. He clearly asserts that writing about the epidemiology of breast cancer is hampered by the obvious absence of an outright definition of what age comprises a young woman. He quotes various studies done on the particular topic suggesting he has read widely on the particular research topic. This has aided him in narrowing the topic of his research and coming up with a focused research question. The abstract and introduction give a clear insight as to the knowledge of the writer concerning the topic. His opinion is entirely influenced by previous research studies on breast cancer.
The writer has clearly used literature that is recent and relevant to his research study. The available literature is however biased and gives very little insight as to his intended research question. He has however managed to single out the necessary bits from the available literature as appertaining his intended study group. Since he has used several different literatures on the topic, I believe the information gathered is reliable as there is a consistency in the findings. He does not have a clearly spelt out research question for the research; thus there is no way of gauging as to whether the literature tries to prove his intended hypothesis. A research question like “Does the epidemiology of breast cancer in young women vary with age?” would have been clearly spelt out by the available literature. As for the literature available on the incidence of breast cancer in young women, it tends to show that there is an obvious variation as to the incidence rates in women of various ages. In the young, i.e. under 40, the studies show that there was little or no increase in the rates of breast cancer while there was a slow increase in the women over 50 years of age. (Yankaskas, 2005) I believe the literature on the incidence was extensive enough as it involved women from different racial backgrounds. It is not opinion based but evidence based and the writer has tried to give his opinion concerning the same rather than merely stating what the literature findings are. As for the literature on the recurrence of breast cancer and mortality and survival rates, the writer has merely quoted and inferred from the available research findings. There seems to be an integrated summary of the available literature such as the survival and incidence rates have a bimodal curve that is highest in the youngest and oldest women. (Yankaskas, 2005) As for the available literature on tumor characteristics, prognosis and risk factors there is sufficient information available however, there has been a lot of emphasis on the studies done to prove the same with little emphasis on a conclusive statement to tie it up with the literature. This I attribute to the lack of a concise target question.
Theoretical or Conceptual framework
In this instance, I do not think any nursing theoretical framework has been applied here but rather, a general approach based on the pathological and public health framework of research has been used. The researcher’s conceptual framework approach is:
- Research on incidence of breast cancer in women aged below 45 years of age.
- Studies on the relationship between recurrence, mortality and survival rates with age in breast cancer.
- Information why women of a young age are more likely to suffer from breast cancer i.e. risk factors.
The researcher has properly identified the sources of his data but has not identified him or herself as being the one carrying out the research. He is simply reporting and inferring from the available studies and researches. The setting of his research is appropriate since the data used to come up with the literature is in line with his intended purpose. The type of sampling method used was convenience sampling. This is because in convenience sampling, there are few resources so an accessible population or setting which is typical rather than representative is used. The sampling strategy was not appropriate since it can lead to significant biases and errors if sample used is unrepresentative of the target population. (Gerrish & Lacey, 2010). It however achieved the intended purpose thus making it appropriate as far as coming up with evidence based conclusion is concerned. There is no insight as to whether any information redundancy was achieved because he is simply reporting as from evidence got from previous research studies.
The protection of human research subject
According to the nursing profession there are three ethical principles that guide research; anatomy, beneficence and nonmaleficence. Anatomy is where the individual has the right to self determination; beneficence principle is the principle of doing well to others. (Cherry & Jacob, 2005). Nonmaleficence principle requires not to harm though indirect and unanticipated harm may occur. In this case we cannot really comment as to whether the protection of human research subject was followed as no evidence of the same is available from the research.
The research design
The research is more of a conclusive study based on previous research studies. There is no aspect of the researcher’s own input in terms of research on the particular topic but rather he has used the available material about the epidemiological variables to come up with an overall conclusion about the epidemiology of breast cancer in young women.
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The data collection methods
The researcher used data triangulation as a method of data collection in this report. In this method a researcher uses different souses of data in most cases books to answer his research question. (Wood & Kerr, 2010) For this research, he has used data from various studies and previous researches on the different variables. There was no use of any primary data collection technique making the findings of this research pegged on the accuracy of the said studies.
The research is made credible when it does not contain any form of contradictory statement or if it does the statement should not have a great negative impact on the research finding. (Rosdahl, & Kowdski, 2008). In this case, I would say the results are credible because the findings are in line with the implied pre understanding that the epidemiological variants: – incidence, survival and mortality rates, tumor characteristics and risk factors vary with age.
The methods used for data analysis was systematic data analysis method since one can draw a conclusion about the particular research topic. (Rosdahl & Kodowski, 2008). The researcher has proved the validity of his findings by stating the references at the end of the research. The figures given as analytical determination to prove the same show that the analysis was practicable and replicable.
The findings of the research include: – increase in incidence with age is not linear but there is a faster increase in younger ages; the risk of breast cancer recurrence is higher in young women and mortality rates rise with age; poor prognostic factors are more prevalent in the young and the risk factors are more or less the same for both age groups. (Yankaskas, 2005)
The discussion of findings
There were no accidental findings in this research as there were no clearly defined expectations as to the outcome of the research. They totally concurred with previous research concerning the epidemiology of breast cancer in young women. However, I had expected the prognostic factors to follow the same trend as the rest of the variables but it showed that poor prognostic factors are more prevalent in the young as much as the mortality rates increase with age. (Gerrish & Lacey, 2010).
The researcher does not identify any limitations to his research. However, he begins by showing the dilemma he faces as to which age qualifies as young. He should ideally have given a brief caveat as to the limitations of the studies from which he based his conclusions from.
The conclusions and implications drawn by the author are warranted by the study findings since it has proven that the young women under 40 years have a different epidemiology in breast cancer. He incorporates all aspects of his findings in the conclusion.
The author offers legitimate recommendations for further research using standard definitions of young age and more attention to analytical methods. The description of study is sufficiently clear and complete to prove the facts thus it allows replication of the study.
Research utilization in your practice
The research findings are quite relevant and will enable us to change our current information on breast cancer and adjust our screening cut off ages for detection of the pathology. It gives information as to the risk factors associated with breast cancer. This will make women aware of the lifestyle that causes breast cancer thus making them take the necessary precautions if at risk. The research findings are really relevant in my field as a nurse dealing with reconstructive surgery patients. It will enable me give informed advice and have a better understanding of the pathology.
Cherry, B. & Jacob, S. (2005). Contemporary nursing: issues, trends and management. U.S.A: Elsevier Health science.
Gerrish, K. & Lacey, A. (2010). The research process in nursing. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley and sons.
Rosdahl, C. & Kowdski, T. (2008). Textbook basic nursing. Walnut Street, Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Wood, M. & Kerr, J. (2010). Basic steps in planning nursing research. Jones and Bartlett Learning: Ontario, Canada.
Yankaskas, B. C. (2005). Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in Young Women. Breast Disease, 23(1), 3-8.